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Allied Health Clinics

1. Finding evidence

In a clinical setting, health professionals make decisions about patient care every day. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an approach or framework which helps guide this decision-making. The framework should inform care plans for your patients.

EBP refers to the interaction of three main domains:

  • best research evidence refers to up-to-date and authoritative scientific research into patient care, diagnosis, treatment or disease prevention
  • clinical expertise is a combination of clinical skills, medical knowledge, and professional experience that is accumulated by practitioners over the course of their career
  • patient values and circumstances relate to the unique preferences, concerns, expectations, beliefs, hopes, strengths, limitations, and stresses that each patient brings to a clinical encounter. Relevant factors such as these need to be considered in making a shared clinical decision 

 For more information refer to our Evidence-Based Practice library guide.

2. Searching for information

Once you have developed a well-focused research question you need to either locate:

  1. Background information for general knowledge
  2. Foreground information to decide on care plans for your patients

Use the map below to learn where to find information for background and foreground questions.

3. Selecting resources

The Hierarchy of Evidence-Based Resources represents different levels of evidence available in clinical decision making. As you move up the pyramid, the quality of information increases but the amount of available information decreases. Finding the best available evidence enables you to make the best decisions for your patient. 

Select the plus symbols below to learn more about the levels of evidence.

The above figure (DiCenso, Bayley & Haynes 2009, p. 100) has been adapted with permission from British Medical Journal, 2022

It’s best to start your search for information in resources found at the top of the pyramid, where the research evidence has been pre-appraised by health care experts. However, because there is less information available, you will need to search broadly, using one keyword at a time and gradually adding more. 

If you are unable to find relevant information, move down to the next highest level in the pyramid. As you work your way down the pyramid, more research will be available so you can be more specific with your search.

4. Databases to search

Clinical guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist health professional and client decisions about appropriate health care for specific circumstances.

They are used to translate evidence into actionable recommendations that can be applied to clinical situations. The below sources specifically include Australian guidelines.

The below sources include International guidelines.

These international databases include some guidelines, amongst other resources:

5. Example Search for foreground information

Before you search, analyse your research question. Consider:

  1. The main concepts in your question. You can use these as search terms.
  2. Any synonyms (similar keywords) you could also include in your search.
  3. Any words you need to define.
  4. Plurals or different word endings for any search terms.

Find different word endings or spellings in databases by using:

  • Truncation - for different word endings e.g.: exercis* finds exercise, exercises, exercising
  • Phrase searching - find exact phrases e.g.: "lateral ankle"

Combine your keywords, using the connectors OR / AND when searching.

ankle OR "lateral ankle" OR "anterior talofibular ligament*" OR "tarsal bone*" OR bimalleolar OR trimalleolar OR bimalleolar OR "regio tarsalis" OR tarsus OR malleolus OR "distal tibiofibular joint*" OR "inferior tibiofibular joint*"


sprain* OR strain* OR injur*


physiotherap* OR "physical therap*" OR rehabilitat*


guideline* OR protocol*

Example Medline search strategy:

Tick [Image source: Pixabay,, copied under CC0 1.0,]Search for terms guideline? OR protocol? in the title only. See Medline search example above

7. Example Google search for guidelines

You can search in Google to locate clinical practice guidelines.

You are able to do a comprehensive search in Google by combining your keywords using the connectors OR / AND. Avoid using truncation (*) in Google; it is better to spell out the variations (e.g. singular and plural) you are searching.


("lateral ankle" OR "anterior talofibular ligament" OR “tarsal bone” OR “tarsal bones”)


(sprain OR strain)


(physiotherapy OR "physical therapy")


(“clinical guidelines” OR “clinical guideline” OR “practice guideline” OR “practice guidelines” OR “clinical protocols” OR “clinical protocol”)

Use these refinement options in Google to get more relevant results:

  • verbatim - search for exact words only
Tools > All results dropdown arrow > verbatim
  • date - locate up-to-date results
Tools > Any time dropdown arrow > custom range
  • country

Settings > search settings > Region settings

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